ATLANTA – Continuity became the buzzword after the humble free agent transfer to the Knicks last August, but that’s out the window now after Thursday’s deal with the Hawks for Cam Reddish.
Knicks president Leon Rose doesn’t speak to the media, but his actions speak volumes as he added a side wing to the 22-year-old Reddish, with the idea of stockpiling assets.
The feeling surrounding the league is that this move is a precursor to a bigger step.
It gave Knicks the flexibility to be more comfortable trading RJ Barrett – or even Julius Randle – in a huge deal. The idea is that Reddish hasn’t been fulfilled in his first three seasons since he was named 10th in 2019 and that he could emerge as a more versatile player than Barrett.
The Knicks believe Reddish can play three positions, including a power forward, in this minor ball league.
Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau admitted on Friday that adding Reddish without removing a player from rotation creates a dilemma. This is especially true now that Thibodeau has fallen in love with rookie shooting guard Quentin Grimes—who was the Atlanta’s number one priority in the trade, even if the Hawks passed him twice in the draft.
One faction of the Knicks staff men wanted to come back from third in a deal with Atlanta for a chance at Reddish in the 2019 draft. Scott Perry, the Knicks general manager, was assertive and wanted Barrett, whom the team picked with this third pick.
Interestingly, Thibodeau has often discussed the injured Reddish as he may be talking about a player on a 10-day contract. Yes, Thibodeau praised Reddish’s skill set, but then offered: “He gives us a chance to look at Cam. We’ll see when he gets here, see how he fits in and then go from there. We’ll see how it unfolds. … We’re loaded into the suite’s location in Now is the time, so we’ll see.”
When Kemba Walker returns, most likely as a starting point guard, Thibodeau won’t be able to play all his wingers. Something has to deliver, though, as Reddish isn’t quite ready to perform yet due to a sprained ankle.
According to multiple sources, Rose and Chancellor William Wesley have played a very conservative role since acquiring Derek Rose from the Pistons nearly a year ago. The Knicks brass loved the camaraderie, harmony, and scoring on the team and didn’t want to mess with what they built. They were virtually silent on last season’s trade deadline.
“They were very cognizant of fitting in a new player in the dressing room,” an NBA source said.
It is now clear that the roster, as it was generated, may just be a team that played in the Enhanced Eastern Conference as they were overtaken by other teams. The Knicks (21-21) stood 10th in the East and entered their game Saturday night against the Hawks.
Plenty of interesting commercial candidates are expected to emerge before the February 10 deadline, and the Knicks still need a strong guard point as the ailing Walker and Rose show their ages this season.
Notably, Perry, during his brief stay as vice president of basketball operations for the Kings in 2017, picked De’Aaron Fox, of Kentucky, with the fifth pick less than a month before he took over as the Knicks. At the time, there wasn’t much of a no-brainer. There are persistent rumors that Fox is available due to the toughness of Therese Halliburton.
The Mavericks still haven’t granted former Vilanova goalkeeper Galen Bronson a contract extension and have taken another leap this season. As The Post has reported several times, Knicks had Bronsons on their radar.
Bronson’s father is Rick Bronson – Leon Rose’s first client When he started at the sports agency from Cherry Hill, NJ Thibodeau had the older Bronson on his crew for years before rejoining the Knicks.
With ‘T-Day’ at 3/weeks, the Mavericks are certainly able to move Brunson before the 2018 second-round pick becomes an unrestricted free agent.
An NBA source said the Knicks had already reached out to the Mavericks at some point in the past about Bronson.
“They want it bad,” said an NBA source.
Reportedly, the Knicks also contacted the Pistons, about power striker on the block Jeramy Grant, and the Pacers, regarding the big-extended Miles Turner.
A league source also said that Atlanta strongman John Collins, despite signing a new long-term Teal after protracted negotiations, could be made available in the future if the Hawks do not start running away.
As The Post reported, Knicks was in the mix of Grant when he was a free agent in 2020 and signed with Detroit. That’s before Randall became an all-star.
There are indications that the Knicks may not be sold as they were in August at Randle, who has signed a four-year contract extension. Despite his exciting 2020-21 season, Randall is likely feeling the pressure of being the face of the New York franchise is too much for him.
Nicks encouraged Randle to write his apology on Instagram (most likely written by the Creative Artists Agency team) after telling fans to “close the match” after the January 6 win over the Celtics. But Randell refused to disclose this to the media, which appeared to be declaring war against due to negative coverage of his season.
It’s fair to speculate whether Randall was completely sold out when staying in New York for the duration of his deal. Last season Randle said on more than one occasion that he wanted to retire as Nick.
Kevin Knox went on a Reddish deal. But let’s be honest, there is no Knick that is untouchable right now.